Erika Girardi, also known as Erika Jayne, is opening up about her divorce to lawyer Tom Girardi for the first time in the newest episode of "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills."
In the episode that aired Wednesday night, titled "The Liberation of Erika Jayne," the 51-year old reality star said she left without saying goodbye to her now estranged husband, without even leaving him a note before serving him for divorce the next day.
"Well, OK, let's discuss the elephant in the room," she said to her fellow cast members at the start of Wednesday's episode. "Yeah, so my life drastically changed this week. I let go of the Lamborghini. I let go of my 16,000 square foot home, I let go of my marriage, I let go of everything. I literally made a decision that I had to."
"I left because he pushed me further and further out," she said during an interview. "The conversations that I used to have are now reduced down to a sentence or two. I just kept walking around that house and knowing that this marriage was headed down a really s---ty path, I had to make a choice to do what was right for me. I couldn't live that way anymore."
To her fellow cast mates, she explained why she blindsided them with the news, too, saying, "None of you knew on purpose, because it would put you in a bad position, if I were to give you information that you had to hold and I didn't want to do that and that's the truth.
"It also doesn't serve me to talk a lot about what is happening legally or will happen legally because I married to somebody who's very good in that area."
She later added, "And as soon as I get a handle on what's you know, coming for me, and it will be coming for me."
Girardi is a consumer law attorney who had been practicing law since 1965. His high-profile 1993 case against energy giant Pacific Gas and Electric Company rose him to prominence. The case, which dealt with the contamination of groundwater in the small town of Hinkley, California, became the basis for the 2000 blockbuster “Erin Brockovich” and elevated the prestige of his law firm, Girardi Keese. Since then, his firm continued to handle many multi-million dollar settlements, often involving class action suits against major corporations.
In 1999, Girardi married Jayne, then Erika Chahoy, after the pair met while she was a cocktail waitress at the famed Los Angeles restaurant Chasen's, where Girardi was a regular for many years.
"My marriage was never conventional," she explained on Wednesday's episode during a confessional. "You know, he was successful, 33 years older, you're the cocktail waitress that made good with a young son. In my marriage, if I wanted to open up and say, you Tom have hurt my feelings, there was none of that it was always dismissed."
"I struggled for a long time knowing that I had to leave but once I made my decision, I spent a good 30 days closing out certain parts of my life," she added. "I cried every day. This was the end of a massive part of my life, stepping into basically a void."
Jayne said that she purposely filed on Election Day 2020, thinking that news of their divorce would fall under the radar, but that didn't happen.
"You know, I almost floated the idea of trial separation, and I knew it wouldn't work," she said during a scene with Lisa Rinna. "There's no, you know, that's that old school generation, which is you get your s--- and get the f--- out. You're in or you're out. You're out... you're dead."
Jayne then added that she never said goodbye to him.
"I didn't leave a note," she shared. "I drove him to work and I told him I loved him and he said, 'Thanks, hun.' Like I was an employee."
Crying in a confessional, Jayne further detailed that moment, saying that was the last moment she ever saw him. "I went home and started putting everything in the moving van," she explained to Rinna. "I drove off, went to my new place, spent the night there and he was served the next morning."
"We're not playing games over here," she added. "And he's not going to be playing games with me. So I expect nothing but the worst and hoping for the best and he's got some real challenges ahead of him."
The couple's divorce is especially noteworthy as the pair have both been embroiled in numerous legal battles since her filing for divorce, where prosecutors allege Girardi and his firm embezzled millions of dollars that were intended to go to victims and family members of various class action lawsuits, including the Lion Air 610 plane crash.
Last year, a lawsuit alleged that Girardi and his firm were "on the verge of financial collapse and locked in a downward spiral of mounting debts and dwindling funds” and his “need to fund outrageous lifestyles for himself and his soon-to-be ex-wife Erika Jayne” is the reason for her divorce filing in November. In March, the State Bar of California filed disciplinary charges against Girardi's license to practice law, alleging that the "licensee engaged in a major misappropriation of client funds."
The couple's legal's woes have especially been in the spotlight since the release of a new documentary on Hulu produced by ABC News. "The Housewife and the Hustler” examined not only the experience of some clients of Girardi's law firm who never received their settlements, but also the exorbitant lifestyle that Jayne shows off, especially on the "Real Housewives."
During Wednesday's episode of the Bravo reality show, Jayne shared that she downsized from the 16,000 square foot home they shared in Pasadena to a 2,015 square foot rental. Her former residence was four bedrooms and nine bathrooms, while her new home is three bedrooms and two bathrooms. She also shared that she took only a few pieces of furniture, like a sofa and two chairs.
"It's the uncertainty and the instability of being, you know, really out on your own," she said during a confessional. "So to all of a sudden, live somewhere else and know that you're never going home. You know, for now, this is home. Hope you chose wisely. This is it."
"Just getting up the courage to leave is a big deal. This was my home for over 21 years."
One story during Wednesday's episode painted a picture of the couple's experience that may have been more reality than this housewife was used to sharing with fans of the Bravo series.
"I'll never forget one time I was joining Tom and five other guys for dinner and I said, 'I'm sorry, I'm late. I was in traffic. And one of them said, 'Well, if you were married to a better man, traffic would be no problem,"' she explained. "Tom straight looked at him across the table and said, 'Well, if you think you can afford her, you can have her,' and it flew right out of his mouth."
"I didn't tell anybody because he supported me when there was nothing there's always that underlying pressure of wanting to please someone that's provided for you, and I felt always that I should shut up and be grateful to an extent."
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